Letter to the Editor: Delving deeper in GMOs

In response”In defence of GM crops” (Letters to the Editor, August 1, The Valley Echo)...

Dear Editor,

In response”In defence of GM crops” (Letters to the Editor, August 1, The Valley Echo), I feel it is important for readers to know that CropLife is founded and funded by leading biotech companies such as Monsanto, Dupont and Bayer. So Ms. Hepworth would tend towards support of GMOs. I am not a scientist, a doctor or even an environmentalist — it is only after watching documentaries and hours of tirelessly researching the truth of the matter to form my own conclusions. I am still learning and researching to further understand this complex issue.

It seems that the “misinformation” tactic used by Ms. Hepworth is ironic. The misinformation, or missing information, that is occurring is coming from the biotech companies themselves. Ms. Hepworth alleges that “GM crops enjoy a remarkable food safety record” and “regulatory agencies around the world endorse the safety of GM crops.” And yet there are numerous independent studies reporting just the opposite.  Food Sovereignty’s report from 2011: “Recent research also links glyphosate herbicides to miscarriages, cancer, and damage to DNA and reproductive organs. This reinforces local community testimonies from Argentina about the harmful effects of herbicides and agrochemicals on their health and environment.”  (Glyphosate is found in Roundup, a weed and grass killer). Also noteworthy is the study from the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec that found toxic levels of Cry1Ab “resulting in organ failures, complications in reproduction and mutations within DNA resulting in new and unknown allergens.” To read more on this report, check out the Reproductive Toxicology journal or http://www.greenpeace.org/israel/Global/israel/image/2012/07/ReproductiveToxicology-%20GMO.pdf.

On Environment Canada’s website it says:

“Environmental scientists do not yet know what long-term impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function could result from dispersing GMOs and related products such as herbicides and Bt toxins (Bacillus thuringiensis toxins) in the environment, what effects they could have on indigenous microorganisms and invertebrates in streams and soils, and what threats they might pose to water quality.”

Another publication states: “In Europe, public opposition to GMOs is rising and the area of agricultural land dedicated to GM crops is declining. Sixty-one per cent of EU citizens are opposed to GMOs. The area planted with GM crops declined by 23 per cent between 2008 and 2010. GM crop bans on Monsanto’s MON 810 maize are now in place in France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Hungary and Luxembourg, and there is a de facto ban on all GM crops in Bulgaria. The European Commission’s 2010 approval of a new GM potato, Amflora, resulted in bans on the potato in Austria, Luxembourg and Hungary.” (http://www.foei.org/en/resources/publications/pdfs/2011/who-benefits-from-gm-crops-2011/view)

As for the opinion that farmers “overwhelming choose to grow genetically ‘improved’ crops,” read the numerous reports of farmers across the U.S. and Canada who are suing the very same companies that CropLife represents. Indian farmers, who after five years of growing BT cotton, are now faced with the realities of super pests requiring higher levels of pesticides and lower yields. And India is in the process of suing Monsanto for violating the country’s biodiversity laws.

To discover more about the health safety of GMO products, all one has to do is search online, or read books such as Seeds of Deception, or watch the documentaries “The World According to Monsanto” and “Scientists Under Attack” (a documentary outlining how independent research on GMOs is being quashed). The actions of these companies has been to create their own policies, and then promote their employees to government positions to pass regulatory bills.

My concerns regarding GMOs are not just about the safety of our food; it extends to our social well-being, the health of our soils, air, water and the biodiversity linking it all together.

Ray Vowels